Languages at the IB Programme
GESS has a leading position among the international schools in Singapore.
In addition to English as the language of instruction, all primary school students will learn German (except the ones in the Danish Mother Tongue Programme) at whatever level is appropriate to them be it complete beginner or native speaker. When students reach secondary school, they will pick up a third language (French, Mandarin or Spanish) or pursue their mother tongue language. Dutch and Danish are already well-developed mother tongue languages at GESS and have their own classes but we also support other native level languages where possible through our Mother Tongue Support Programme.
The foreign language acquisition courses in the Secondary School (MYP language B) are typically in small classes to provide a maximum exposure and practice in the language chosen. We follow the communicative approach of the MYP and link the course tightly to the culture of the country.
At GESS, French is taught throughout the secondary from Grade 6 to Grade 12. Students are fully prepared for the IB Diploma requirements in language acquisition (MYP language B). In addition, we prepare the students to take the European Frame of Reference exams. The first level, A1, is taken in Grade 7, the second A2 in Grade 8 and the third, B1, in Grade 10. IB students go for the B2 or C1 depending on their level.
For our students joining GESS in Grade 9 we also offer a beginners’ class.
Mandarin is offered in Middle School from grades 6 to 10. Students learn the characters starting from Grade 7.
We started offering Spanish three years ago and have now reached to Grade 8. This will flow through into Grade 9 in the 2014/15 academic year and into Grade 10 in the 2015/16 academic year. Students are prepared for the European Frame of Reference exams.
Mother tongue programme
Some of our families choose to have their child maintain their mother tongue whilst in the Middle School. These lessons are conducted by experienced tutors during the third language lesson time, so there is no need for after school lessons. GESS works with parents to find suitable tutors to support their child’s mother tongue language while meeting the demands of the IB’s curriculum. To this end, we liaise with tutors to get a curriculum overview and follow closely the assessments and reporting in the language studied. When possible, we work with government approved agencies to ensure a smooth return in the country and language of origin if this need would arise. This is sometimes undertaken online with the national education system of the country.